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West Ham 0-1 Tottenham Women: Lucy Quinn strike sends Spurs to third straight WSL win

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Spurs are still undefeated under new manager Rehanne Skinner.

West Ham United Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

The weather was overcast and chilly on Sunday afternoon at Chigwell Construction Stadium, home of Dagenham & Redbridge and West Ham United Women. The Hammers hosted Tottenham Hotspur Women in WSL league action. Spurs’ Lucy Quinn, a first half substitute after an injury to Rachel Williams, provided a first half goal that proved to be the difference between the two sides in this London derby. Spurs held on for a 1-0 win, their third under new manager Rehanne Skinner, one that propelled them up to 7th in the table.

The big news ahead of kickoff was a start for young striker and England youth international Jessica Naz, who made her WSL debut and stepped into the giant Alex Morgan-shaped void left behind when the American superstar returned to the States. Morgan’s former Orlando teammates Shelina Zadorsky and Alanna Kennedy, both now signed permanently for Spurs, started in defense and midfield, respectively. Rosella Ayane was preferred to Angela Addison, and Gemma Davison, Rachel Williams, and Josie Green were also brought back into the side.

New West Ham manager Olli Harder announced his first match lineup in charge of the club, after taking over from Matt Beard a few weeks ago. However, just as Spurs were without Morgan, so too were the Hammers without their high profile loan after Rachel Daly returned to Houston Dash in December.

West Ham came out trying to press Spurs high, and Tottenham countered by increasing the tempo and trying to pass the ball quickly upfield. The action was a touch frantic as both sides tried to nab an early goal. West Ham had the serious attempt on target in the ninth minute as Emily van Egmond fired a curling ball towards the right side of goal, but Spurs keeper Becky Spencer read it well and made an easy stop.

Spurs were forced into an early change after just 15 minutes when Rachel Williams appeared to pull a hamstring during a Spurs counterattack. Williams had received the ball in transition and was dribbling forward on the left side of the field towards the West Ham defense when she pulled up hobbling, killing the attack. Lucy Quinn came on as her substitute.

New West Ham manager Harder had clearly been drilling his team to press in the weeks leading up to this match, and Spurs found it difficult to get easy opportunities to progress the ball in midfield, with West Ham players constantly harrying them to force turnovers.

Quinn’s first sniff at goal in the first half came in the 32nd minute. Rosella Ayane, receiving a short pass from Josie Green, flicked the ball into Quinn’s path, but her shot was over the bar.

The goal came two minutes later. Ayane had some clever one-two passing with Naz before flashing a low cross in front of goal. Kennedy couldn’t get a boot on it at the far post, but Gemma Davison picked up the ball at the end line, and cut it back for Quinn, who powered it into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead, one Spurs would take into halftime.

Spurs manager Skinner opted to shake things up a bit at halftime, bringing on Rianna Dean for Naz to start the second period. West Ham came out with a renewed energy and tried for a quick equalizer, nearly accomplishing it with a flick from Adriana Leon inside the first minute of the half. West Ham’s press gave Spurs’ midfield some difficulties, with the match feeling a touch frenetic and the Hammers forcing a chaotic element into midfield.

Quinn tried for a second goal in the 49th minute when a deflected ball fell to her at the top of the box, but her shot was well over the bar.

Spurs keeper Becky Spencer wasn’t called into action that frequently, but she came up big in the 60th minute, making a good stop on a close range header from Van Egmond off of a free kick from Leon, and preserving Spurs’ lead.

West Ham had another great opportunity to equalize in the 71st minute, but Hannah Godfrey dived in front of an van Egmond shot to block away the chance. Moments later, Maz Pacheco fired another shot on target that took a deflection and just dribbled past the hands of a diving Becky Spencer, and (thankfully) the post.

Spurs’ defense looked rickety at times, but ultimately held against waves of West Ham attacks in the 2nd half. Tottenham tried to counter whenever possible through the wide pace from 2nd half substitute Angela Adams and Ayane, but found it difficult to get out of their own half.

Spurs made an unusual substitution in the 77th minute as Quinn, herself a sub for the injured Rachel Williams, made way for Kit Graham. It was a curious move, and it’s not clear whether the move was for fitness or tactical reasons. Graham made her presence known moments later, feeding a ball into the box for Rianna Dean who’s sliding shot went wide of the goal.

West Ham were industrious, but Tottenham’s defense held and Spurs were able to secure the three points and their third straight win. The final score was 1-0.

You can watch highlights from the match below

Reactions

  • This had the feel of a real London Derby, with both teams playing progressive, fast-paced football and putting in some crunching tackles.
  • Spencer had another good game in goal, making some key stops, not all of them easy, and keeping a clean sheet.
  • West Ham certainly play differently under Harder, and their high press gave Spurs some trouble throughout the match. You could see West Ham visibly tire as the match went on, though their new style of play could give teams some problems this season.
  • It was good to see Naz get a start, her first since August 2019. She’s got bags of pace and now needs minutes in order to improve. She could be a real x-factor for Spurs.
  • Earlier this season I bemoaned the difficult start to Spurs’ season, and they struggled. Now, Spurs have three wins on the trot against Brighton, Aston Villa, and now rivals West Ham. A win against a top five team will be a good barometer to see how well they’ve improved under Skinner; they’ll get the chance against fifth place Everton at The Hive next Sunday, hoping to avenge their 1-0 loss in September.